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    ISBN: 9781772012620 | Paperback

    272 pages | Pub. Date: 20200825
    6 W × 9 H × 0.67 D inches
    Frontlist | Poetry | Bisac: POE011000
    Rights: WORLD

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Music at the Heart of Thinking
Improvisations 1–170
By Fred Wah

The music of thinking. The thinking of music. Music at the Heart of Thinking is a poetry that works through language as the true practice of thought and improvisation as the tool that listens to and notates thinking. From jazz, the unpredictable ad lib driving itself from itself. From a drunken Shaolin monk, the poem as imbalanced tai chi. From Keats’s negative capability, the half-closed eye, the estrangement of language. All intended to bump beyond the end of the word into focus. As a response to readings in contemporary texts, art, and ideas. Music at the Heart of Thinking relocates critical language and thinking to the poetic bavardage at the heart of such endeavours. The poetics that generates these texts arises out of a lifelong poem project that has its roots in the long poem genre of the ’80s and its interest in the resistance to closure and the containment of meaning characteristic of the lyric. This book continues the work of two previous out-of-print publications, Music at the Heart of Thinking (1987) and Alley, Alley Home Free (1990). The poems are generated as textual responses in the reading, looking, and listening of the poet’s attention to his cultural milieu. Thus the writing addresses contemporary texts and art over the past forty years. Within this poetry of estrangement lie possible coherences for some sense of writing as a notation for thinking as feeling. The difficulty of this writing is literal and intentional, wary of any attempt to make thinking simple, easy, or predictable.

Finalist 2021 The BC and Yukon Book Prizes' Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

"Like [Jack] Spicer before him, Wah proves that in the right (write) mouth the poem itself might be the best critical tool we have."
—Arc Poetry Magazine

"A book of outlandishly playful and extravagantly difficult poems."
—Canadian Literature / Littérature canadienne

"Wah’s has always been a poetic simultaneously engaged with breath and quick thought, language and deep meditation on being, identity and theory, and Music at the Heart of Thinking provides an ongoing example of just how powerful a master can be."
rob mclennan

By Fred Wah

Fred Wah was one of the founding editors of the poetry newsletter TISH. Of his seventeen books of poetry, is a door received the BC Book Prize, Waiting For Saskatchewan received the Governor-General’s Award and So Far was awarded the Stephanson Award for Poetry. Diamond Grill, a biofiction about hybridity and growing up in a small-town Chinese-Canadian café won the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction, and his collection of critical writing, Faking It: Poetics and Hybridity, received the Gabrielle Roy Prize.

Read more about Fred Wah


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news | 2021-04-08
BC and Yukon Book Prize Finalists

…for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize Fred Wah’s Music at the Heart of Thinking , and Junie Désil’s eat salt | gaze at the ocean …


news | 2020-12-22
January 28 Zoom Launch!

…wonderful Talon authors: Fred Wah reading from Music at the Heart of Thinking Colin Browne reading from Here Junie Desil …


news | 2020-09-21
Music at the Heart of Thinking has arrived!

…We are so pleased to welcome Fred Wah’s Music at the Heart of Thinking ! The music of thinking. The thinking of music. … Music at the Heart of Thinking is a poetry that works through language as the … work of two previous out-of-print publications, Music at the Heart of Thinking (1987) and Alley, Alley Home Free (1990). Order … your copy of Music at the Heart of Thinking today! …